Semi-trucks are just about everywhere. They move nearly 70 percent of the nation’s products each year. There is no question tractor-trailers are a major force (literally) driving the nation’s economy.
Unfortunately, these massive vehicles can also be extremely dangerous, which is why they are subject to strict regulations.
If you have been injured in a semi-truck collision, call a West Palm Beach truck accident lawyer right away, as these are complicated cases that demand a skilled lawyer.
If the closest you have ever come to a big rig is seeing one on the highway, you may not realize how tightly regulated the trucking industry.
Here are four things truck drivers are legally prohibited from doing behind the wheel.
1. Texting and Driving
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits the drivers of all commercial motor vehicles from texting and driving. The FMCSA defines “texting” as manually entering text into a device or reading a text.
The rule also covers email, instant messaging, commands to activate a web page, or pressing more than a single button to initiate or end a call.
Truck drivers who violate the no texting rule face harsh penalties. Individual drivers caught texting behind the wheel must pay up to $2,750 per offense.
Commercial carrier companies can be fined up to $11,000 per violation. Multiple violations of the texting ban can cause a truck driver to lose his or her commercial driver’s license.
2. Driving with Unauthorized Passengers
FMCSA regulations also prohibit truck operators from transporting unauthorized passengers. Many long-haul drivers are away from their families for days and even weeks at a time.
In some cases, truck drivers are tempted to travel with a spouse, child, or family member as a way of spending time with a loved one.
Although many commercial truck companies permit their drivers to travel with a co-driver, which can be a spouse, any passenger must be authorized in writing by the driver’s employer to ride in the truck, and the written permission from the carrier company must state the points of transportation from beginning to end.
The rule makes an exception for livestock attendants and instances where a truck driver must transport someone for purposes of obtaining emergency help in the event of a crash or other health reason. Bus drivers are also exempt from the passenger rule.
3. Talking on the Phone
Although more than half the states allow motorists to use handheld mobile phones while driving, FMCSA regulations ban all handheld devices for truck drivers. Because federal law is more restrictive than state law in this case, the federal law is the controlling law.
The rule prohibits truck operators from holding a phone, dialing by pressing more than a single button, and even reaching for a phone – if by doing so the driver must maneuver out of a driving position.
Learn About : 5 Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving
4. Using a Radar Detector
Tractor-trailers that weigh more than 18,000 pounds are prohibited from using radar detectors, which covers the majority of semi-trucks and buses on the road. This rule has been in place since 1993.
The idea behind the rule is that radar detectors encourage excessive speed, which is a leading cause of semi-truck accidents.
Just because regulations prohibit truck drivers from engaging in certain activities doesn’t mean truck drivers always obey the rules. Most truck operators are hard-working professionals who take their job and their responsibilities very seriously.
Unfortunately, even a single negligent truck driver can cause a devastating accident. This is why it’s so important for all motorists to be vigilant about safety on the road.
Read more about getting help from a West Palm Beach tractor-trailer collision attorney after a truck accident:
- The Biggest Problems with Commercial Truck Accidents
- Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer in Port St. Lucie after an Accident
Call a West Palm Beach Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Semi-truck crashes often result in catastrophic injuries. If you have been hurt in a tractor-trailer accident, call West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers known for getting results. Get in touch with us through email, by phone, or via our online contact form.